Chinese authorities are considering relaxing vehicle purchase restrictions to boost sales of passenger vehicles, given current headwinds in the auto market.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) may require local governments to stop enforcing new vehicle purchase restrictions and increase the new car plate quota, Caixin reported.

NDRC is gathering comments for the proposed measures, it said. As the Chinese auto market reported the first negative growth in 28 years in 2018, the NDRC has launched measures to stimulate the purchase of vehicles.

To relieve worsening traffic problems, several major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, among others, have set an annual new car plate cap for diesel and petrol cars.

The NDRC now expects to increase the new car plate quota by 50% to 100% in those cities. In addition, families with no vehicles may get an exemption.

The authority will continue promotion of new energy cars, and encourage vehicle sales for people in suburban areas, the report said.